European Commissioner for Competition Margrethe Vestager talks to the media during a news conference on the concurrence case with Google online search advertising on March 20, 2019 in Brussels, Belgium.
Thierry Monasse | Getty Images News | Getty Images
The European Commission announced Tuesday that it’s launching antitrust investigations into Apple‘s App Store rules and the Apple Pay platform.
The Commission, the executive arm of the EU, said it will assess whether Apple’s rules for app developers on the distribution of apps via the App Store breach EU competition rules.
Executive Vice-President Margrethe Vestager, in charge of competition policy, said in a statement: “Mobile applications have fundamentally changed the way we access content. Apple sets the rules for the distribution of apps to users of iPhones and iPads.”
“It appears that Apple obtained a ‘gatekeeper’ role when it comes to the distribution of apps and content to users of Apple’s popular devices. We need to ensure that Apple’s rules do not distort competition in markets where Apple is competing with other app developers, for example with its music streaming service Apple Music or with Apple Books. I have therefore decided to take a close look at Apple’s App Store rules and their compliance with EU competition rules.”
With regards to Apple Pay, the Commission said it will look at Apple’s terms and conditions for integrating Apple Pay in apps and websites, Apple’s limitation of access to NFC technology, and alleged refusals of access to Apple Pay.
“It appears that Apple sets the conditions on how Apple Pay should be used in merchants’ apps and websites,” Vestager said.
“It also reserves the ‘tap and go’ functionality of iPhones to Apple Pay. It is important that Apple’s measures do not deny consumers the benefits of new payment technologies, including better choice, quality, innovation and competitive prices. I have therefore decided to take a close look at Apple’s practices regarding Apple Pay and their impact on competition.”